EMD Serono and Massachusetts General Hospital Collaborate to Better Understand Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Lupus Nephritis
BILLERICA, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EMD Serono Research and Development Institute, Inc., a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, entered into a collaborative research agreement with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to further the understanding of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Lupus Nephritis pathogenesis.
“In collaboration with world-renowned academic centers such as MGH, we are well-positioned to advance the highest-quality science into the clinic for the benefit of patients in need.”
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system produces proteins called autoantibodies that attack patients’ own tissues and organs. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, approximately 1.5 million Americans have SLE. Up to 60% of patients with SLE develop inflammation in the kidneys known as Lupus Nephritis (LN), which if uncontrolled can lead to kidney failure. SLE and LN represent an area of high unmet medical need, where new therapies are vital.
In this collaboration, EMD Serono Immunology scientists will work jointly with MGH investigators to better characterize and validate the expression of investigative therapeutic targets, pathogenic immune cell types and biomarkers in SLE and LN patients.
“We have a very strong commitment to building our understanding of the pathology of disease in Immunology,” says Harsukh Parmar, Senior Vice President, Immunology & Neurology at the EMD Serono R&D Institute. “In collaboration with world-renowned academic centers such as MGH, we are well-positioned to advance the highest-quality science into the clinic for the benefit of patients in need.”
MGH investigators will prospectively collect biospecimens to be used in various translational research applications, including compound testing and gene expression analysis of target molecules.
“The Division of Nephrology at MGH is deeply committed to bringing novel therapies to patients who suffer from kidney disease, and this complementary collaboration with EMD Serono brings us closer to helping patients with lupus nephritis,” said Ravi Thadhani, MD, MPH, Chief of the Division of Nephrology at MGH.
A major aim of this collaboration is to generate supportive data for the role of certain proteins targeted by clinical stage assets in the EMD Serono portfolio in LN pathogenesis, as well as enable early discovery efforts in Immunology.
This strategic alliance with MGH highlights the commitment of EMD Serono to develop medicines for SLE and LN and the commitment to engaging in strategic partnerships that leverage Massachusetts’ biotech innovation hub.
About EMD Serono, Inc.
EMD Serono, Inc., a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a leading US biopharmaceutical company focused exclusively on specialty care. An established leader in the Massachusetts life sciences industry, EMD Serono recently invested in expanding its research and development presence in the state to support the advancement of its pipeline and opportunities for partnerships in the academia and biotech sectors. Today, the EMD presence in Massachusetts includes approximately 2,200 employees, and the combined organizations of EMD Serono and EMD Millipore, the life sciences division of Merck KGaA, make EMD the fifth largest life science company in Massachusetts. EMD Serono engages in strategic partnerships that leverage Massachusetts’ rich biotech innovation hub to advance research in our core therapeutic areas and is also a supporter of science, technology, engineering and medical (STEM) education in Massachusetts.
For more information, please visit www.emdserono.com.
About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany, is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. Its subsidiaries in Canada and the United States operate under the umbrella brand EMD. Around 39,000 employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to further the success of customers and to help meet global challenges. The company generated total revenues of €11.1 billion in 2013 with its four divisions: Biopharmaceuticals, Consumer Health, Performance Materials and Life Science Tools. Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the name has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70 percent interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day.